Curriculum - Graduate Phase
Laboratory Rotations & Thesis Research
A laboratory rotation prior to the start of the first year of medical school is optional. The period between the first and second years of medical school provides ~10 weeks for the first required laboratory rotation. The spring and summer after the second year of medical school provide time for two additional rotations of ~10 weeks each (in the "less traditional pathway," these rotations are undertaken in the fall of the third year). Two laboratory rotations are required, although many MSTP fellows take all three. The purpose of these rotations is to allow students time and opportunity to find a lab in which to complete their dissertation. The MSTP and the Doctoral Programs provide formal guidance and oversight in the selection of research mentors.
MSTP fellows are not required to select a doctoral field until the start of graduate school coursework in year three, although most do so earlier. Following completion of the basic science years of the medical school curriculum, fellows enter a graduate program and spend their first year doing research and completing the course requirements for candidacy, which culminate in the preliminary or qualifying examinations. These requirements are determined by the graduate program, and are typically modified from the standard graduate requirements by acceptance of medical school courses as cognates of the PhD courses.
The core doctoral programs are Bioinformatics, Biological Chemistry, Biophysics, Cell & Developmental Biology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Chemical Biology, Human Genetics, Immunology, Medicinal Chemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Neuroscience, Pathology, and Pharmacology. Other closely related doctoral programs may be selected, such as Biomedical Engineering. Information about any of the programs or others of pertinence may be obtained from the individual doctoral program offices. Adjustments in the requirements and procedures have been made for the core doctoral programs and others to facilitate the intermeshing of those educational programs with the Medical Scientist Training Program.
Thesis research is guided by a mentor or by co-mentors. A dissertation committee is required, all in compliance with the stipulations of the Graduate School.